Posted 23/07/2021. Effective management and leadership are essential for everyday health system resilience, but health managers are often under-prepared and under-supported in these roles. Particular challenges have been observed in communication skills, emotional competence and supportive oversight. Jacinta Nzinga and colleagues share their learning from implementing a package of leadership development interventions in Kenya
Posted 20/07/2021. The ethical dilemmas faced by frontline staff conducting health research among ‘vulnerable’ populations are increasingly recognized. However, there is little documented on how staff might be supported in identifying and handling these dilemmas. Sassy Molyneux and colleagues share an approach and tools they developed in Kenya, centred on group reflections linked to a set of policy responses tailored to the context. They encourage further adaptation and evaluation of the approach
Posted 02/07/2021. Chemoprophylaxis against emerging and pandemic infections offer potential for prevention. Lakshmi Manoharan and colleagues evaluated significant design features of COVID-19 chemoprophylaxis trial registrations. The findings illustrate that the majority of trials were underpowered to detect clinically meaningful protection at epidemiologically informed attack rates. Future trials should be large enough to generate strong evidence and allow structured entry and exit of candidate agents. International trial coordination mechanisms and collaboration is required.
Posted 25/06/2021. In the ISARIC multicentre, cohort of 48 902 patients, admitted to UK hospital with COVID-19 during the first pandemic wave (6 Feb-8 June 2020), bacterial infections were uncommon. 85% of patients were prescribed antibiotics, with substantial regional variations highlighting that antimicrobial stewardship should be prioritised and integrated into Covid19 care pathways, by Louise Sigfrid and colleagues.
Posted 18/06/2021. Grace Irimu and colleagues show that newborns account for 46% of admissions and 66% of deaths among children 0-13years in Kenyan hospitals. Most deaths are caused by preventable and treatable causes. The authors call for need to prioritize newborn care for Kenya to achieve the SDGs target.
Posted 09/06/2021. Chris Paton and colleagues describe how predictive human-computer interaction (HCI) modelling could be used to improve the safety and usability of digital health systems. We reviewed the history of predictive modelling in HCI and describe how modelling could be integrated with the human-centred design techniques used when developing digital health interventions.
Posted 28/04/2021. While Health and Demographic Surveillance Systems (HDSS) involving verbal autopsy provide essential data on deaths, births and other health-related events in LMICs where alternative sources are limited, Vicki Marsh and colleagues argue that current regulatory frameworks do not sufficiently recognise their nature as a form of non-traditional epidemiological research. Ethical challenges include risks of uncompensated burdens that alternative regulatory approaches may more successfully identify.
Posted 13/04/2021. Self-regulated learning (SRL) remains unexplored for healthcare workers in low-income countries. Tim Tuti, Chris Paton and Niall Winters detail how SRL strategies impact on healthcare providers’ learning gains when using digital learning platforms. We apply Latent Profile Analysis (LPA) to questionnaire responses. We provide insights into the learner factors to consider when implementing technology-mediated learning.
Posted 15/04/2021. Philippe Guérin co-authored a letter published in The Lancet drawing attention of the risk of pooling data from uncomplicated illness and more severe ill hospitalised patients in the development of COVID-19 treatment guidelines. Although SARS-CoV-2 is one virus, the COVID-19 disease has a complex and evolving physiopathology pathway and requires different therapeutic approaches depending of the stage of the disease. In low-resource settings, the prevention of hospital admission is the therapeutic priority.
Posted 31/03/2021. Patient safety is a key goal of WHO but identifying harms and developing strategies to deliver safe care has been given little attention. Mike English and colleague describe a ‘portfolio’ approach to safety improvement in four broad categories: prioritising critical processes, improving the organisation of care, control of risks and enhancing responses to hazardous situations that we believe is relevant to low resource settings. We focus attention on the possible roles of practitioner groups and professional associations as key to advancing patient safety through collaboration and skill development in this field
Posted 22/02/2021. Paper continues to be an important medium for recording inpatient care in low‐ and middle‐income countries. Naomi Muinga and colleagues synthesise evidence on how paper‐based nursing records have been developed within inpatient settings to support documentation of nursing care, and that a human‐centred design approach might better meet users' needs
Posted 16/02/2021. Dexamethasone has been shown to reduce mortality in COVID-19 patients needing oxygen and ventilation by 18% and 36%, respectively. Rima Shretta and colleagues estimate that approximately 12,000 lives could be saved in the UK and 650,000 globally between July-December 2020. Dexamethasone is a cost-effective option with an incremental cost of GBP 940 per life-year gained.
Posted 12/06/2020. Safety of drugs is important, particularly during pregnancy. Makoto Saito and colleagues have pooled the data of 4503 women who had malaria in pregnancy and found that the currently used artemisinin-based combination therapies are equally safe for fetus. This study also highlights that risk of small-for-gestational-age (SGA) is high after malaria in pregnancy even treated with highly efficacious drugs, suggesting that prevention is important for reducing SGA in malaria endemic areas.
Posted 14/04/2020. Enormous emergency efforts are underway to find optimal medical products, to prevent, diagnose, and treat COVID-19, that 7.8 billion people will depend on. With dire disruption of pharmaceutical production and supply and increasing falsified and substandard products, we need strategic planning now to ensure global access to quality-assured medical products and monitoring of supply chains
Posted 02/01/2018. Technological potentials have raised high hopes on healthcare access in LMICs like India. However, five years of research by Dr Marco Haenssgen paint a less optimistic picture and show adverse consequences of mobile phone diffusion, which creates more competition and new divisions and leaves the poorest strata of population worse off than before.
Posted 20/03/2020. 199 patients received standard care, of which 99 received lopinavir-ritonavir for 14 days. Lopinavir-ritonavir didn’t induce significant clinical improvement, and mortality was similar in both groups. However, patients treated with lopinavir-ritonavir spent less time in hospital and in intensive care. The trial enrolled severely ill patients and was not big enough to detect modest benefits. Much larger studies are warranted to confirm or exclude if lopinavir-ritonavir treatment can help.
Posted 12/02/2021. The majority of digital health projects have failed to translate into scaled, routine services, leaving many health leaders cautious and uncertain of how to proceed. Chris Paton and colleagues identify factors that can influence successful and sustainable integration of digital health within local health systems in low resource settings.
Posted 20/02/2018. The malaria parasite is a major cause of illness and deaths throughout the tropics. To survive, the malaria parasite needs to be transmitted by mosquitos form person to person. In this paper Martin Rono and colleagues show at the cellular and molecular level how the parasite balances its investment between growing efficiently in humans and maximising the chances of being transmitted by mosquitos, depending on the local environment.
Posted 12/12/2017. Snakebite envenoming is a neglected tropical disease that kills 100,000 people and maims 400,000 every year. Impoverished populations living in the rural tropics are particularly vulnerable; snakebite envenoming perpetuates the cycle of poverty. Intravenous administration of antivenom is the only specific treatment to counteract envenoming. Confronting snakebite envenoming at a global level demands the implementation of an integrated intervention strategy involving local, national and international organisations.
Posted 05/12/2017. Zika virus RNA is frequently detected in the semen after Zika virus infection. To learn more about persistence of viruses in genital fluids, Dr Alex Salam and Professor Peter Horby searched PubMed and found evidence that 27 viruses can be found in human semen. This may have implications for the risk of sexual transmission, embryonic infection, congenital disease, miscarriage, and infection transmission models.
About one-third of children diagnosed with severe malaria may instead have an alternative cause of illness, but simple blood tests could help researchers distinguish between the two and speed up research on new treatments.
Although improvements in child survival globally have been remarkable, 5.2 million children still died in 2019, over half of these in sub-Saharan Africa. A range of factors likely include disparities in childhood immunisations, supplements and breastfeeding practices, antenatal care, skilled birth attendants working in healthcare facilities. Kenya needs to prioritise its child care plans, based on localities and populations with the greatest need. Two KWTRP studies give granular insights into the situation in regions across Kenya.
Interview with KWTRP Malaria immunologist Dr Francis Ndungu. Francis grew up in central Kenya where malaria is not prevalent but is interested in understanding of how semi-immune individuals control malaria parasite growth and the associated inflammation symptoms. His current work is in understanding how we develop immunity to Malaria. He is also interested in the potential translation of that knowledge in the development of effective malaria vaccines.
The International Girl’s in ICT day is commemorated to create awareness on the critical need for more girls and women in the ICT sector, encourage and inspire young girls to actively pursue careers in STEM as well as engage the community to promote collaboration through partnerships. Kathreen Wafula, an ICT Support Technician in Kilifi, joins a strong team of techies and is one of the 4 women in the department.
KWTRP initial community and public engagement strategy was developed in 2005 with three goals: build understanding and trust between researchers and communities, enhance ethical conduct of research, and disseminate research findings to promote uptake into policy. Our programme has since developed and now includes engagement with media, radio programme, media engagement workshops, various meetings and forums, and a fully-fledged school engagement programme that was awarded the 2019 Oxford VC Public Engagement with Research Award.
The responsiveness of a health system is one of its goals, alongside fairness in financing and outcomes. Listening and responding to the public can make a health system stronger and fairer. However, responsiveness is likely to be undermined, especially for vulnerable and marginal populations, in periods of crises such as disease outbreaks. In the current COVID-19 crisis, there has been more focus on health system control interventions, with minimal consideration of community views. KWTRP colleagues in Kenya consider community engagement and citizens feedback channels, concerns raised by the public and how they were handled, and highlight lessons learned.